Training Warriors for the 21st Century

Training Warriors for the 21st Century
Joong Do Kwan Traditional Taekwondo cross training with Kidokwan Perth

31 Oct 2012

Taekwondo - Where is the Lock from?

Taekwondo has striking techniques, gap closing tactics, close quarter techniques, traps, locks and takedowns.

It is easy to say, hey, where did that wristlock come from; and similarly as easy to respond, it is a kotegaeshi wrist turn out from Aikido, or some leg reaping throw from Judo.

The fact however is that we don't train in aikido. Taekwondo's methodology is predominantly a linear-based style, a 'hard' style. We strike with hands and feet. But eventually any practitioner will have to forego the contraints of the methodology or style, look at objectives and do what is most appropriate at the time. Sometimes strikes and kicks flow into traps and locks. Eventually, some technique will be used that may not look entirely like kickboxing.

Kickboxing ... just to point out for arugment's sake ... is something which we do not do!

Aiki is something in which I enjoy greatly. But when it comes to our stylistic approach, whatever wrist lock or throw we use, is used and taught in the world view of a Taekwondo practitioner. It finds its place within the hyung we use, integrated with our self defence approach, and fits into our exercises hopefully in a useful and value-enhancing manner.

There is an idea that martial artists 'soften' with old age. For me, soften is not an accurate term, especially when looking at our stylistic approach. I am still a hard style, hip rotating, kicking and striking artist. 'Softening' is more accurately termed 'maturing' where I look at physical efficiencies and power generation tactics. But no, you don't see me turning into a predominantly throws and locks guy ... it's not going to happen.



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22 Oct 2012

Walking Up the Arm

Taekwondo Pattern Won-hyo opens like Heian Nidan - with a double outside forearm block called Haiwan Uke in Japanese. And what follows is as I've just described - a "very strange but captivating" sequence of movements. In Karate, it's performed as an inside hammerfist strike, and then an outside horizontal hammerfist strike. In Taekwondo, it's been modified to a inside shuto, then a pull back of the punching hand and foot, and then a sideways 'mid punch.'

Let's take a look at where the Taekwondo student is while learning won-hyo. Up to this pattern, the practitioner should have learned enough basic techniques to be an effective striker and should be able to hurt an opponent's extremities (if not to break bones and joints), shut them down with blunt force trauma to head or core, and take down the opponent using simple throws and takedowns.

The way I see this sequence is as a gap closing tactic to 'walk up the opponent's arm.'

I've seen a number of applications to show how to apply this as a group of random blocks or strikes to an opponent - all of which become redundant considering you were already trained to hurt your opponent's joints and knock his lights out with more direct basic strikes.

It can be seen as the next progression of skills from those derived from the pull back or hikite movement from basic techniques. With the pull back hand, the student knows that you can use the non-striking hand to apply a pull back force while striking. Great when you've got that one shot opportunity - if the opponent is slowed down dealing with other things like working with a weapon, or dealing with multiple opponents, or if you are fast and accelerate enough so the opponent is left flinching in response to your attack. The pull back hand holds the opponent at bay and drags him to you while you strike him with your free hand.

This sequence from Won-hyo gets you to 'walk up the opponent's arm' so you can respond to the opponent grabbing you, or if your arms become entwined in his arms, or if you grab your opponent's arms.

The upper 'block' drags the opponent's arm toward you similar to what you'd do for an over the shoulder throw. The mid level block becomes a limb or joint destruction. Then the folding/chambering sequence allows you to grab or immobilise the arm and the final move is a lethal strike to opponent's neck or body.

Such skills to reduce the gap and drag the opponent also require you to think about the opponent's secondary weapon, the usage of your body to level the opponent's joints, and how best would you effect 'insertion' whilst the opponent is trying to counter strike at your body or head (see Overwhelm the Opponent). Many of these issues are resolved with this tactical sequence.

Keep practicing my brothers!


I'd like to give a special thanks to Traditional Taekwondo Techniques blog reader Attila Endre Kovacs from Hungary who contacted me and alerted me to the fact my domain was down. Attila has been practicing for almost as long as I have, and has great passion for what he does. I wish him all the best for his martial art and his continuing search for solutions and ideas to help him stay on the path.
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
Hikaru Dojo Shihan
Founder The SuperParents A Team
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